pages from C/FO Magazine V2 #3

The roughly mid-90's and earlier (generally pre-Toonami, pre-anime boom) era of anime & manga fandom: early cons, clubs, tape trading, Nth Generation VHS fansubs, old magazines & fanzines, fandubs, ancient merchandise, rec.arts.anime, and more!
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Re: pages from C/FO Magazine V2 #3

Post by davemerrill » Fri Feb 08, 2019 10:48 am

Fireminer wrote:
Fri Feb 08, 2019 7:25 am

So, VHS scarcity was not an important matter, right, but how to hook up with the right person who had a show you wanted? And how bad was the tape-exchanging culture hurt after anime titles started showing up at Blockbuster or Suncoast? (Also, do you remember approximately when did these stores started carrying anime titles? Before that, how did companies like AnimEigo or Manga Entertainment distribute their tapes?)
People that did a lot of tape trading or copying for others would compile lists of the tapes they had. Several clubs (like Anime Hasshin) had tape trading groups that would copy anime for anyone who would send blank VHS tape and return postage. There were always films or TV shows that were difficult to find - there are some movies from that era that I didn't see until years later. The whole process was jury-rigged and arbitrary, and fans were always coming and going from the fandom. Somebody would be really into anime in 1987 and then by 1990 they would have moved on to something else. The relationships between tape traders would vary widely; in a lot of the smaller areas, one fan would have access to a lot of tapes, and he'd wind up selling copies to the local fans, or charging a fee for making copies. In other cities this was frowned on.

When AnimEigo and US Renditions started selling subtitled anime on VHS in the US, it didn't change things overnight. The retail prices for those VHS tapes were fairly high ($29.99, $39.99, etc) and a lot of fans would rather get something for the cost of a blank tape rather than pay retail ( just like today). Also, a lot of the popular fan titles didn't become available on US release home video right away, and titles that were brand new in Japan might take a while to make it over here, so there was still tape copying activity. And of course once fan subtitling got easier a lot of fan subtitling groups started working on popular shows that hadn't been released here, and those were distributed via VHS as well.

As far as retail distribution of anime VHS tapes goes, I will yield the floor to Steve Harrison or anyone else with retail experience...

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Re: pages from C/FO Magazine V2 #3

Post by Drew_Sutton » Sat Feb 09, 2019 6:52 pm

Thanks for scanning these, Dave! These were really interesting to read through!
Davemerrill wrote:The Chapter Screening Roundups go show by show and there are abbreviations detailing what was screened where. There are six pages of this so I haven't scanned them all, but the anime series being watched at C/FO meetings in 1983 were: Acrobunch, Amazing 3, Bannertail the Squirrel, Baxinger, Bryger, Captain Harlock, Gatchaman II, Gatchaman F, God Mars, Gold Lightan, Golion, Great Mazinger, Gundam, Kimba The White Lion, King Arthur, Go Leo (in French), Lupin III, Macross, Muteking, Patarillo, Raideen, Rainbowman, Robotan, Srungle, SSX, Star Blazers, Technovoyager, Tetsujin-28 (1980), Tetsuwan Atom (1980), Urashiman, Urusei Yatsura, Votoms, Xabungle, Yamato III, Yatodetoman, Yattaman, and Zanbot 3.
I would completely expect, Yamato, Gatchaman, Mazinger, Golion, Harlock, etc. where there was some mainstream presence or a previous dub (knowing what a lot of those dubs were like). Muteking I wouldn't expect but, I don't know ... how old is that "Blistering Bullshit" dub? Even some stuff like Gundam or Xabungle that was all over the anime magazines at the time isn't really a surprise but it is kinda neat to think about 1983 having stuff as recent as the last years of shows (or even same year's as Votoms).

There are quite a few shows on this list that surprise me - not just for 1983 but for any time really. The J9 series and Acrobunch immediately jump out at me.
Akihabara Renditions: Japanese Animation of the Bubble Economy
Excuse me, I need to evict some juvenile delinquents from my yard.

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Re: pages from C/FO Magazine V2 #3

Post by davemerrill » Sun Feb 10, 2019 6:10 am

Drew_Sutton wrote:
Sat Feb 09, 2019 6:52 pm
Thanks for scanning these, Dave! These were really interesting to read through!
Davemerrill wrote:The Chapter Screening Roundups go show by show and there are abbreviations detailing what was screened where. There are six pages of this so I haven't scanned them all, but the anime series being watched at C/FO meetings in 1983 were: Acrobunch, Amazing 3, Bannertail the Squirrel, Baxinger, Bryger, Captain Harlock, Gatchaman II, Gatchaman F, God Mars, Gold Lightan, Golion, Great Mazinger, Gundam, Kimba The White Lion, King Arthur, Go Leo (in French), Lupin III, Macross, Muteking, Patarillo, Raideen, Rainbowman, Robotan, Srungle, SSX, Star Blazers, Technovoyager, Tetsujin-28 (1980), Tetsuwan Atom (1980), Urashiman, Urusei Yatsura, Votoms, Xabungle, Yamato III, Yatodetoman, Yattaman, and Zanbot 3.
I would completely expect, Yamato, Gatchaman, Mazinger, Golion, Harlock, etc. where there was some mainstream presence or a previous dub (knowing what a lot of those dubs were like). Muteking I wouldn't expect but, I don't know ... how old is that "Blistering Bullshit" dub? Even some stuff like Gundam or Xabungle that was all over the anime magazines at the time isn't really a surprise but it is kinda neat to think about 1983 having stuff as recent as the last years of shows (or even same year's as Votoms).

There are quite a few shows on this list that surprise me - not just for 1983 but for any time really. The J9 series and Acrobunch immediately jump out at me.
That Muteking "blistering bullshit" dub was a pilot produced by Tatsunoko right around that time, and the copy we got was a copy of a copy of a copy that Tatsunoko gave to the Los Angeles C/FO for screening purposes. It helps when the animation studios have offices in your home town, I guess.

The first issue of the C/FO Magazine I ever saw was their big J-9 issue; it was a popular show among the fandom, at least among the fans that were drawing the fan art and writing the magazine. (which is still true today, there's some confirmation bias happening all the time, where it's hard to figure out if a show is popular because the fans keep engaging with it, or if the fans are engaging with a show because it's popular. Chicken, meet egg)

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Re: pages from C/FO Magazine V2 #3

Post by runesaint » Sun Feb 10, 2019 10:28 am

davemerrill wrote:
Fri Feb 08, 2019 10:48 am
Fireminer wrote:
Fri Feb 08, 2019 7:25 am

So, VHS scarcity was not an important matter, right, but how to hook up with the right person who had a show you wanted? And how bad was the tape-exchanging culture hurt after anime titles started showing up at Blockbuster or Suncoast? (Also, do you remember approximately when did these stores started carrying anime titles? Before that, how did companies like AnimEigo or Manga Entertainment distribute their tapes?)
People that did a lot of tape trading or copying for others would compile lists of the tapes they had. Several clubs (like Anime Hasshin) had tape trading groups that would copy anime for anyone who would send blank VHS tape and return postage. There were always films or TV shows that were difficult to find - there are some movies from that era that I didn't see until years later. The whole process was jury-rigged and arbitrary, and fans were always coming and going from the fandom. Somebody would be really into anime in 1987 and then by 1990 they would have moved on to something else. The relationships between tape traders would vary widely; in a lot of the smaller areas, one fan would have access to a lot of tapes, and he'd wind up selling copies to the local fans, or charging a fee for making copies. In other cities this was frowned on.
To add on to that, some of the individuals that I recall...
Hm, I have edited this a few times as I do not know if I should name names at this point.
The earliest ones would have catalogs listing what was on each tape, you would request that code (something like TW017). These tapes might have one episode of one show, two of another, etcetera. Filling gaps was very difficult at this point, as it might take some time to get episode '71' of a show.
Anyway, there was one person that had me buy Godzilla figures and ship them to him, in exchange he would send back full tapes without cases and wrapped in brown paper bags.
Several would have very limited numbers (one or two tapes at a time) but they would be high quality - usually these people would have serial numbers pop up in the subtitles randomly so that if their copies were ever sold they would know who to cut off.
A lot would do (some number of tapes they didn't have) for (some number of tapes that they did have). If you got copies of a subtitled show before it got around (KO Beast Century was one) or obscure episodes (Gundam Zeta had an episode '0' and Gundam Double Zeta had three episode 0s that introduced characters and stuff before the show actually started airing) then you could get something you wanted... or something else obscure in the hopes of trading it for something else.
Oh, some people would only trade LP (4 hour speed), but the vast majority traded SP (2 hour speed). Some would request specific brands of blank VHS tapes to be sent to them.
I certainly recall 'Go-Video' machines for copying tape-to-tape without requiring another VHS; although with one you would make 2 copies at once..
Those are some things I recall off the top of my head.

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Re: pages from C/FO Magazine V2 #3

Post by Fireminer » Mon Feb 11, 2019 3:53 am

Can anyone here enlighten me on the whole Muteking "blistering bullshit" ordeal? Was it some kind of urban legend (but real, as davemerrill pointed out) in the fandom then?

And I am kind of surprise that Zambot 3 is actually seen in C/FO. It isn't a Tomino-popular/infamous show, much less a popular show in general.

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Re: pages from C/FO Magazine V2 #3

Post by davemerrill » Mon Feb 11, 2019 10:17 am

Tatsunoko had the first episode of "Muteking The Dashing Warrior" dubbed into English as a promotional tool to help in selling the series to overseas markets. There's a point in the show where one of the evil aliens says what sounds like "Blistering Bullshit!" I'm still not sure what the original line of dialog is supposed to be.

You can watch that episode of Muteking here: https://youtu.be/8tPuU-fQBUw - the "Blistering Bullshit!" is right around the 15:50 mark.

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Re: pages from C/FO Magazine V2 #3

Post by DKop » Mon Feb 11, 2019 7:00 pm

Dave, I thought you and Matt Murray confirmed that line in B.A.D., which is how I first saw the clip (right at the 16:33 mark):

https://vimeo.com/1025466

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Re: pages from C/FO Magazine V2 #3

Post by _D_ » Thu Feb 14, 2019 8:58 am

This brings back lots of memories. Wonder what happened to Craig? I caught up with him some years back when he moved back to Canada from Scotland as I recall, then promptly lost track of him again. I have lots of old C/FO stuff in a box which I labeled "History of Anime Fandom". Still have lots of old fanzines like Marg Baskin's Anime House Productions Anime Janai. You can get some of those in digital form now I think. I was the first Canadian member of the C/FO as I recall. Craig was the second. I remember him coming up to stay for a weekend at my parent's place back in the early 1980s. Had a blast with him. He sure liked the Gatchaman Fighter episodes I had since he was a big Tatsunoko fan. I still have those tapes and am trying to archive as much as I can before it all ends up in the bin. It's amazing how well some of those tapes have held up after 40 years. Some Scotch formulations and longer length Sony Dynamicron tapes have flaked though and my first attempts at tape baking failed to restore them...but I probably did something wrong. I'll have to try again at some point. The biggest problem is tracking the old tapes and finding equipment in good enough shape to transfer the tapes at all. A never ending struggle.

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Re: pages from C/FO Magazine V2 #3

Post by Fireminer » Sat Feb 16, 2019 7:10 pm

Say, does Meri Davis still chair Project A-Kon? And does anyone here know any other contribution on Meri's part to the fandom, beside her being the president of EDC?

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Re: pages from C/FO Magazine V2 #3

Post by davemerrill » Sun Feb 17, 2019 5:38 am

Meri's company Phoenix Entertainment sold Project A-Kon earlier this year to another convention organizer, so it's kind of the end of an era. But she ran Project A-Kon from 1990 until 2019. She also ran several other smaller conventions in the Dallas area from time to time.

The EDC's founder Derek Wakefield turned the club over to Meri somewhere around 1986, but she was already the driving force behind the club - she edited the EDC fanzine NOVA, she wrote newsletters, she held meetings, she arranged screenings and panels at Texas conventions. Basically she organized a circle of anime fans that made the Dallas area a real center of anime fandom. In 1989 she and the rest of her fan circle decided they should put on an anime convention and see how successful it could be, and that was Project A-Kon.

There were other anime clubs in Texas - there were busy C/FO chapters in San Antonio and Austin, other anime clubs in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, and a thriving scene in Houston by the late 1980s - but in the mid 1980s Meri and the EDC crew seemed to be the only club with a reach beyond Texas.

Of course in the late 1980s the national C/FO would be based out of San Antonio. When the national C/FO collapsed, the organization continued under other names for a few years. However, the San Antonio group never organized conventions and would vanish in a few years.

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